Thursday, July 9, 2009

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl - Fannie Flagg

welcome to the world, baby girl
fannie flagg
c. 1998
478 pages
completed 7/8/2009

read for: southern reading challenge

*may contain spoilers*

Set in both Missouri and New York, with a few stops in Atlanta, Chicago, and Vienna, Welcome to the World, Baby Girl follows Dena Nordstrom, a famous TV personality and news reporter, as she relives her past to discover who she is.

I've discovered my problem with Fannie Flagg novels. I want to like them so much, but I continually come up short. I'm sure I'll keep trying because, like I said, I've discovered the problem. Her novels, her characters really, all seem a little cartoonish to me. Like caricatures of people. And that makes it hard to really be invested in anything that happens. I can't see these characters as real people. This is the passage that made me realize it. "Dena was surprised. Dr. Elizabeth Diggers was a large black woman in a wheelchair. 'Hello Mrs. Nordstrom. I'm Dr. Diggers.' She smiled. 'Didn't Gerry tell you I was a big black woman in a wheelchair?'" (p.134) I mean who talks like that? And why the need to use the same phrase twice?

I also want to know how Dena can have lived in New York and Chicago and places like that all her life and never meet a single black person, like she mentioned on page 149. That doesn't seem plausible for big cities like that.

The book definitely got better for me as I got further in. Once we started trying to reconnect with Dena's past, I was able to get more invested. It took me a while to warm up to Dr. Gerry O'Malley. He was one of the more cartoonish in the beginning, the way his love for Dena was described, but by the end I could get behind him. Possible because in my mind he looked just like Dr. George O'Malley from Gray's Anatomy who I like quite a lot.


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